School Year: 2016-2017
Building on last year’s solid foundation of staff and curriculum, Mentoring Academy’s 5th year began with nearly full enrollment with many returning students and no turnover in staff.
Year 5 began in the fall of 2016 with a student population of 24 students with 5 females students and 19 male students with three of those students being in the 8th grade. By the mid-school year, three additional students were added to the school with several more lined up for the fall and an active waiting list for the next year. Mentoring Academy staff for the year began with two administrators, nine teachers, and John Muster as head director/teacher.
FIELD TRIPS/EXTRAORDINARY PROGRAMS
The school year began with a field trip to the Venture Retreat in Pescadero. This served as a bonding experience for the students and teachers so that Day One and beyond of the school year would go smoother. Additionally, students explored Bay Area cultures with whale watching and a tide pool visit. An emphasis on local writer John Steinbeck and his written works with visits to his home and a museum was also part of the trip. And finally, students were given the opportunity to visit an Aquaponics farm on the return trip.
Additional field trips throughout the year included a tactile mathematics exhibit, a visit to a local digital arts studio called Madefire, and three trips to the Berkeley Rep Theater for “It Can’t Happen Here”, “The Last Tiger in Haiti”, and “946: The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips”. Future field trips for later in the year will include a visit to a working darkroom and photography center, museum day, and more.
Mentoring Academy’s 2016-17 Extraordinary Program will be in Cuba in the spring with the community experiencing the country’s rich culture of music, food, dance, the arts, in a place newly opened to Americans.
In 2016, Mentoring Academy is offering the largest array of classes in its history. Multiple English classes are offered for 8th grade and High School. German, French, and Spanish ahow of videos and photos, many by the students themselves, updated the parents on school life since the previous dinner.
FALL RETREAT: STEINBECK
For the beginning of Fall 2016, Mentoring Academy visited the Monterey and Salinas area for its retreat and stopped by the John Steinbeck Museum and the Steinbeck House.
FALL RETREAT: WHALE WATCHING
Part of Mentoring Academy's Fall retreat 2016 was a visit to the Monterey Bay for some whale watching.
FALL RETREAT: AQUAPONIC FARM
To finish our Fall 2016 retreat, Mentoring Academy visited the Ouroboros Aquaponic Farm in Half Moon Bay.
MATH FIELD TRIP
In October 2016, Mentoring Academy visited a tactile math exhibit.
GIVING BACK TO THE COMMUNITY
From October and December, 2016, Mentoring students, staff, and parents participated in a local church's Friday dinners to help the hungry and homeless.
TEA TIMES 2016
Tea Times at Mentoring Academy are more than just tea. It is also an opportunity to learn about subjects outside the regular classes or for guest speakers.
MADEFIRE FIELD TRIP
In December, the Digital Arts & Photography classes visited MADEFIRE, a digital studio that creates motion comic books and hosts digital comics. Students were treated to a business that specializes in what the Bay Area excels in, the combination of Technology and Creativity.
During the holiday season, Mentoring Academy held its 2nd Community Dinner of the year. The Community Dinners are an opportunity for the Parents, Students, and Teachers to get together for a meal cooked by the students with an evening of student presentations and a slideshow of life at the school for the recent months.
MENTORING ACADEMY 2017
A new year begins but, for Mentoring Academy, we are half way through our school year. Here are some of the students and teachers working together.
It's on! Mentoring Academy's Extraordinary Program takes the school to Cuba in late March and early April. Recently opened up to travel from the USA, Mentoring is having the students get a look at Cuban culture through dance, music, food, and more. Time to practice your Spanish, students!
JOHN MUSTER SPEAKS
On Wednesday, February 8th, John Muster will be speaking about how to reach teenagers. The discussion follows the film THE BAD KIDS, which begins at 7pm. Both are free to the public at the Elmwood Theater in Berkeley.
John's early teaching days had him in Tennessee at Austin P. where he noticed that the high school drop outs had a higher IQ than the graduates. This had a profound affect on him, which would ultimately lead to a different way to teach and Mentoring Academy.
JOHN MUSTER AT THE ELMWOOD
Recently, Mentoring Academy's John Muster was asked to speak after a viewing of the documentary THE BAD KIDS at the Elmwood Theater in Berkeley, California regarding his experiences in teaching. Here are some clips.
MUSEUM DAY: OMCA
Recently, Mentoring Academy had its MUSEUM DAY. This year, the school visited the Oakland Museum of California. The museum packs a lot in and there was something for everyone including the arts, California History, and current shows on SNEAKER CULTURE and THE BLACK PANTHERS AT 50.
THE BERKELEY REP THEATER
As part of our Bay Area Cultures program, Mentoring Academy brings our students to see several plays at the Berkeley Rep Theater. This school year, our three plays were IT CAN'T HAPPEN HERE, THE LAST TIGER IN HAITI, and 946: THE AMAZING STORY OF ADOLPHUS TIPS. Following the plays were discussions with the actors along with a group discussion back at school.
MLK DAY: HIDDEN FIGURES
While other high schools were closed for Martin Luther King jr. Day, Mentoring Academy uses the day to teach about the civil rights leader and discuss history and race in America. Part of that day involved taking the school to see the movie HIDDEN FIGURES, the story of three African-American women and their contribution to NASA and the Space Race in the 1960s.
WASC VISITS MENTORING
WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges) visited Mentoring Academy in March as part of the accreditation process. Starting with a dinner and a Meet the Parents, the WASC team later met with students and staff as they prepared their report.
TEA TIMES & THE COMMUNITY
Tea Times at Mentoring Academy are spent learning something new not always found in our regular classes. Tapping in to our community of family, friends, and students, Tea Times in the new year have highlighted such diverse subjects as Iranian culture and history, Cinematography, working in a shelter, playing the violin, to recent experiences in Cuba.
As Mentoring Academy gets ready for its EXTRAORDINARY PROGRAM: CUBA, we thought it good to get in some Cuban Salsa lessons along with asking instructor Ryan Mead about Cuba.
CITY SLICKERS FARM
For the APES class, instructor Garret Mayer took the students out to the local City Slickers farm in Oakland, California.
EXTRAORDINARY CUBA 2017
Mentoring Academy has returned from its Extraordinary Program in Cuba with many adventures to tell. Students and Mentors learned about the Cuban culture through food, music, dance, interacting with the Cuban people and with visits to Havana and Trinidad's prominent destinations. There was also time for some play too. Above is a small sample of our time in Cuba.
See a Day-by-Day Itinerary of our trip to Cuba.
Click the button for a PDF.
CHEMISTRY WITH GARRET
From last spring, science teacher Garret Mayer ends a school year of Chemistry with a bang. Don't worry, safety first.
CAMPING AND WHALE WATCHING
To finishing the end of the school year, Mentoring Academy travelled to the Portola Redwood Park for camping. We also slipped in another trip to Monterey Bay for whale watching and the humpback whales.
On Saturday, June 10th, Mentoring Academy celebrated its graduates. Matriculating from high school were our students Peter, Cayden, Julien, James, and Paul. Also moving up from middle school to high school were Hartley, Tucker, Liam, & Zacary. Congratulations, all and to the Class of 2017!
Featured at the graduation was Mentoring Academy's house band NOT YET BANNED playing several songs along with many memorable speeches by parents, teachers, students, and more.